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Abstract Detail


Park, Daniel S. [1], Davis, Charles C. [2].

Does mating system predict the breadth of a plant’s niche?

Recent studies have demonstrated that plant species that reproduce by self-pollination have consistently larger geographic ranges than their outcrossing relatives. These selfing species are hypothesized to be superior colonizers of novel environments, however, this assumption remains untested. The actual explanation of this phenomenon may be more complicated because geographic range size does not always correlate with environmental niche breadth. By examining the climatic niches of hundreds of species pairs, we demonstrate that for numerous species, outcrossers have significantly larger climatic niches than their self-pollinating sisters despite having a more limited geographical distribution. We also examined the degree of niche overlap between sister species and identified that sister pairs where both species were self-pollinators had significantly greater overlap than sister pairs involving an outcrosser. This pattern was robust to divergence times between sister species, as the evolutionary time separating self-pollinating sister species were not significantly different from those between outcrossers and their sister species. This suggests that the climatic niches of selfers are slower to diverge on average, perhaps due to their relatively low levels of genetic diversity.

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1 - Harvard University, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, 22 Divinity Ave., Cambridge, MA, 02138, United States
2 - Harvard University, 22 Divinity Ave., Cambridge, MA, 02138, United States

ecological niche modeling
mating system
niche conservatism.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 6, Ecology Section: Population Biology
Location: 201/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Monday, August 1st, 2016
Time: 10:15 AM
Number: 6007
Abstract ID:842
Candidate for Awards:None

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